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Shaving!

Discussion in 'Lounge' started by Galant, Aug 30, 2019.

  1. Galant

    Galant Love - Unity - Sacrifice - Eternity Staff Member

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    The Miami Dolphins have started cutting the roster in earnest and coincidentally I also need to buy new razor blades today - so I thought I'd throw this out there and see what sort of response comes back...if any.

    Last Christmas my request for a gift was a double-edge razor/safety razor. I'd been thinking about it for a while and for three main reasons it made sense to me.

    1 - We've been trying to get a little less wasteful and disposable razors are a whole load of plastic that can't be recycled due to the combined materials in the razor. Safety razors use wholly metal blades, and most razors are also usually all metal or wood and metal.

    2 - The cost of premium cartridge razors is just stupid. I'd almost refuse to buy them on principle. Different guys get different mileage out of each cartridge but my facial leans towards the tough side. I'm just not paying that much money, especially because the cartridges themselves also contribute to #1 above.

    3 - I like the whole aesthetic of a classic style razor and the idea of spending a bit of time learning to perfect the art of a close shave appealed. In fact, I find the idea of straight razors (cut-throat razors) appealing, but I'm probably a little too lazy to maintain the blade on a good razor, so decided a safety razor was the right landing spot for me. At least for now.

    And so, I received my razor for Christmas. A Merkur 34-C (recommended all over the web as a decent starter razor with a bit of heft to it). I bought mine from a UK shaving site, along with a few sample packs of different blades and found a couple of different shaving soaps and a brush in shops nearby. I also manage to find an aftershave I particularly like.

    Half a year on, and although I definitely went through a learning curve with not too many nicks and cuts but definitely a few days of unpleasant razor burn, I've managed to get it down. A nice clean and smooth shave with minimal to no irritation and no cuts. The wife loves it, and my daughter too - she hates hugs and kisses where my face is 'scratchy'.

    And I also love it. I enjoy my evening routine whereby I take a shower before bed and then shave afterwards 2 or 3 times a week. It's nice 10-15 minute break of peace and quiet in the bathroom, with some really nice scented soap, hot water, and the blade.

    It also gives me the periodic enjoyment of finding new soaps etc. when needed - a little bit of masculine pampering!

    Anyway, it just came to mind so I thought I'd mention it. Anyone else have any shaving routines, products or tips you enjoy or want to share?
     
    danmarino likes this.
  2. Unlucky 13

    Unlucky 13 Team Rosen Staff Member Club Member

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    I'm really basic. My facial hair doesn't grow quickly or thick, and since I'm a stay at home dad, I only really need to shave when I feel like it. I end up doing so every 7-10 days, and just use a Gilette Fusion. One blade lasts me 2-3 months before I switch.
     
  3. TheOne

    TheOne Active Member

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    I have a micro touch one safety razor, ( the one the guy from pawn stars advertised) and I would absolutely recommend it. When it comes to razor burn I used to get killer razor burn but then I started shaving during a shower and I don't know if it is backed by science to do that already but it has made a huge difference for me.
     
    Galant likes this.
  4. Pauly

    Pauly Season Ticket Holder

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    I have a collection of cut throats, particularly European razors from the 1920s and 1930s with Art Deco designs.
    The biggest challenge about learning to use them was the fear factor. Once you overcome that they’re the best shavers you can get.

    I have an antique safety razor, an Argentinian make, which I use with the Japanese feather blades when I don’t have the time to do a full shave.
     
    Galant likes this.
  5. Galant

    Galant Love - Unity - Sacrifice - Eternity Staff Member

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    How much time and cost do you spend on maintaining the blade(s)? And do you have to send them off for sharpening regularly?

    My understanding is relatively basic - you need a strop for honing which you'll use before every shave, and then depending on blade type and quality you'll need to get the blade sharpened every now and then....

    ??
     
  6. Galant

    Galant Love - Unity - Sacrifice - Eternity Staff Member

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    I don't shave in the shower itself, but if I've not shaved for a while it definitely makes a massive difference to shower first, have the 'beard' wet, and then go into it.

    At first I had razor burn issues but then something just changed, and now I don't get much at all. Don't know if my skin 'adapted' some how, or I just got better with time, but my speed is increasing, and I can shave relatively quickly if I need too.

    I tend to be wary with the first shave after I put in a new blade. They can be very sharp on first use and I have to consciously be less aggressive/careless. But after the first shave it's a more casual affair.

    Learning the grain/direction of my facial hair in the various regions of my neck and face also helped immensely. The standard is for a down stroke to be with the grain, up against the grain, and a sideways stroke sort of in between, but for me the last two are reversed. Down is easiest, up is medium, and a side stroke from the back to front of my face is most strongly against the grain. So that's my shave order. One pass down, one, maybe two up, one back to front, and then clean up any remaining patches etc if necessary (which is often). The jawline, towards the front, usually takes a little extra time, and the front of my neck towards the adam's apple/front vertical line, can be a paid because I have to pull off a side stroke in towards that area and it can be a bit tricky to get it all. That's if I'm going for a perfect 'baby's bottom' shave.
     
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  7. Pauly

    Pauly Season Ticket Holder

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    I have a rotation of about 10 razors I use for shaving. I last sharpened them on my stones about 5 years ago, and strop before every shave. I am getting close to needing to re-sharpen 2 or 3 of the razors.

    If you only had one razor, that makes it about 6 months between sharpening.

    Also, I get a minimum of 2 days out of a shave with a cut throat, and normally 3. I will let it go to 4 days if I don’t have to go to work, but by then my face is getting itchy and scratchy. My facial hair is fairly light colored, so if I had black whiskers I’d have to shave a bit more often.j

    You can get good shaving quality antiques, as long as you don’t go for the collectible brands, from about 25 dollars or so if you look. Restored pretty razors go for significantly more, but I like to restore the razors myself.

    I switched to cut throats because they are much softer and kinder to the skin than cartridge razors.

    Edit to add: I am a chef and a even among chefs I’m considered a bit of a knife freak. So already had a collection of sharpening stones. It only cost me my time and effort to sharpen the stones.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2019
  8. Galant

    Galant Love - Unity - Sacrifice - Eternity Staff Member

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    How tricky is sharpening the blades - is it a steep learning curve? I'd hate to ruin a blade.
     
  9. Pauly

    Pauly Season Ticket Holder

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    It’s actually much easier than sharpening a knife. There are some good quality videos on youtube, but the razor is designed in such a way that laying it flat on the stone gives you the optimum sharpening angle. You just gently but firmly run the edge up and down the stone. There are a variety of techniques that work, just find the one that works for you.

    For maintaining an edge a combination 4000/8000 stone does a really good job. If you want to grind a new edge onto a blade you’ll need some coarser stones. You could get a Belgian Coticule, which is the only stone that will cut an edge from nothing to spooky sharp, but doing it that way takes a long time and Coticules aren’t cheap. If you want to go all in you can get yourself a Thuringian Green Stone or some fancy Japanese stones.
    To get a good shaving edge you need a minimum of 8000 grit rating.
     
  10. Pauly

    Pauly Season Ticket Holder

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    Some random thoughts.
    - If you sharpen yourself you need a lapping plate - you need the whetstone to be perfectly flat to get a good edge.
    - cut throats need to be sharpened by hand. They are incredibly fragile - the blade is literally paper thin at the edge - and a belt sharpener can destroy a razor in zero seconds flat.
    - The key to a good shave is making a good lather with a good brush. I like badger hair brushes, but others prefer boar or horse brushes.
    - shaving foam in a can is only good for clowns making pies to hit each other in the face with.
    - shaving with a double edge or cut throat is a zen activity. You need to empty your mind and become one with the razor. You will cut yourself if you let yourself get distracted.
     
  11. Galant

    Galant Love - Unity - Sacrifice - Eternity Staff Member

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    That level of investment/commitment isn't something I want to pursue. A relatively cheap investment and a learning curve I can deal with, assuming that the regular routine isn't too time consuming.
     
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  12. Unlucky 13

    Unlucky 13 Team Rosen Staff Member Club Member

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    That's what I thought! I spend 5-10 minutes a week on shaving. I can't imagine making it such a big deal! But everyone's needs are different.
     
  13. Galant

    Galant Love - Unity - Sacrifice - Eternity Staff Member

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    Good points!

    I can't comment on cut-throats but I second the shaving brush point, and third it... if I can. :) I'd even recommend it for users of cartridge razors. It makes a difference, feels good, and ultimately feels like a luxury. Definitely worth an investment, and I didn't have to spend much for mine. I bought a couple of Wilkinson Sword brand badger brushes for not much at all, maybe £5 each, roughly (about $7 each I think that is).

    Maybe big takeaways in learning to shave with a safety razor/double-edge razor is it's all about being gentle, taking your time. You can get really heavy-handed and lazy with cartridge razors, not so with DE. I got the heavier razor because I had read that you want to let the razor do the work. With a new blade especially I focus on not pressing down, and instead smoothness of stroke. The other big lesson was to not try to go from stubble to smooth in one pass! That's a lesson quickly learned. Instead, expect to make several progressive passes to achieve the end result. If you don't it won't be pleasant!

    On the subject of brushes and foam, I initially bought a mug/bowl but struggled to make it effective. I've used two soaps primarily, one that came in a tube and is creamier, and one that came in a plastic bowl/tub. I would soak the brush and then use it to pick up soap and add it to the mug, and mix it around, but I didn't feel like I had success. I'm unsure what the best method is for transferring soap to mug in order to then lather it up. For now I simply rub/spin the wet brush around the tub of soap and directly apply to my face. That seems to be working well for me, but I don't have anything to compare it to.

    Any tips are welcome.
     
  14. Galant

    Galant Love - Unity - Sacrifice - Eternity Staff Member

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    Yep, everyone is different, so I would in no way try to persuade someone to switch over unless they wanted a better shave and/or for environmental/cost reasons. However, what I would suggest, even to you right now @Unlucky 13 is to try just adding a brush and a decent shaving soap to your routine. I'm sure there are people out there who don't care, but in general I find it hard to imagine someone who wouldn't enjoy it. Definitely worth it - low cost, almost zero maintenance (just be sure to rinse the brush out and hang it up/shake it out), and makes a real difference in terms of shave - both feel and results. Bonus points for lovely smells!
     
  15. Pauly

    Pauly Season Ticket Holder

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    For me I already had the sharpening stones, so my only investment was in a strop (straight razor design paddle strop is awesome).

    The restoring of razors is a hobby for me. I’m not good enough to take something rusted and pitted into a mirror finish, but doing by hand gives me a real sense of satisfaction when I’m done.
     
  16. Galant

    Galant Love - Unity - Sacrifice - Eternity Staff Member

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    On the above comment about brushes and lather, I just realised that I never actually did try to learn how to do, I just 'assumed' (I know, I know - to my shame!).

    One quick Google later and I'm going to try this next time:

    https://www.toolsofmen.com/how-to-use-shaving-soap/
     
  17. Pauly

    Pauly Season Ticket Holder

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    The hard English style shaving soap gives a very good result but takes time to work into a lather. The modern softer soaps, such as proraso, are easier to work with but I find the lather ends up thinner. You just need to soak it and the brush in hot water for 5 minutes before the shave. I have a small bowl in which I put the soap in, and a mug to soak the brush in. I dry off the brush and then build the lather in the bowl on top of the soap. It takes 30 seconds to a minute to build a good lather. If the lather is thin I will use the brush on my face to thicken up the lather. There’s a debate whether it’s better to build the lather in the bowl or on your face. I’ve done both and both work fine.

    Some people use the hard English soap, a small squeeze of shaving cream from a tube and a few drops of glycerine to make a dense rich lather. I’ve done it and it’s a really cool thing to do, but for me it’s a bit too fiddly for my every day shave.

    I always end the shave by splashing witch hazel on my face. It helps tighten up the skin enhances the baby butt smooth feel.
     
  18. Galant

    Galant Love - Unity - Sacrifice - Eternity Staff Member

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    How much water do you put on top? tiny amount all across the surface, 1cm, more?

    My preferred aftershave is Floid. Why? I'm trying to keep this shaving thing simple and cheap. It was available in a local store, not expensive, and a lot of people seemed to like it. I tried it and liked it also. The menthol also tightens the skin afterwards and gives a really nice cool feeling. Wife loves the smell, so extra bonus points!



    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2019
  19. Galant

    Galant Love - Unity - Sacrifice - Eternity Staff Member

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    And while I'm at it, I think this is the brush:

    [​IMG]

    And this is one of the soaps:
    [​IMG]

    And that's the Merkur 34C razor. Lovely chrome!

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Pauly

    Pauly Season Ticket Holder

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    I’m using a Taylor’s of Bond Street sandalwood shaving soap, in the wooden bowl. Normally they’re quite expensive but I get them on sale from a store that was closing down and had them at 80% off. I got 4, and each block of soap has given me about 2 years worth of service.

    That’s a really nice Merkur. Mine is a travel razor that packs into a small silver box the size of a matchbox. Similar to this Merkur https://www.google.co.jp/search?q=m...8&hl=en-jp&client=safari#imgrc=cevdqOd4marTkM:
    but with a metal carry box not a leather pouch.

    I use an Edwin Jagger silver tip badger brush, but that was a present from my sister. It’s great but you can get something that’s 98% as good for 20% of the price.
     
  21. Galant

    Galant Love - Unity - Sacrifice - Eternity Staff Member

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    How much water do you normally put on top of your soap? And do you use a separate bowl/mug at all?
     
  22. Pauly

    Pauly Season Ticket Holder

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    I use a separate bowl and mug. I use a dollar store small soup bowl and coffee mug.

    I completely soak the soap, under at least half an inch of very hot (close to boiling) water for 5 minutes then drain the water out. I then set the bowl on top of the coffee mug to help keep the soap warm during the shave for re-lathering.

    For a modern soap I just use a little hot water on top of the soap. If I usually shaved with it I’d probabbly use a second mug and rest the soap on top of that to help warm it through.
     
  23. adamprez2003

    adamprez2003 Senior Member

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    this is an excellent and cheap soap

    [​IMG]


    I also buy imitation Trac IIs. The cost is about $10 - $15 per 100. Each blade gets you 4-10 shaves depending on how long you let your beard grow out. The soap is under $5. The soap gives you a much better and closer shave plus you get several times the amount of shaves economically versus shaving cream.

    Once you try shaving soap you wont go back to shaving creams and I would definitely advise against going back to buying the latest shaving blades. That business is one big scam. in case of the brush get badger hair or synthetic.
     
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